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Customer Review

on 15 January 2010
This is music to make you jump out of your chair, run to the window, throw it open and yell to the passers by that all is well with the world. If you wanted to prove a correlation between charm in music and charm in character then I suspect Telemann is the first example you would take. He was obviously an incredibly nice man, godfather to all sorts of people including Bach's sons, a friend of Handel (who knew where to pinch his inspiration) all time mister nice guy. And there it all is in the music. Listen to the opening of the concerto for three oboes and three violins and, if you can, stop yourself from laughing out loud at the way he throws the material from group to group with imperturbable bonhomie.

His problem is that he wrote too much but then so did Handel. The surprising thing as more and more gets put onto cd is that so much of it has real quality. All of the pieces on this disc are wonderful without exception. Alas the performances are not. Compare the version of the concerto just mentioned with the one recorded on Chandos by Simon Standage. In that performance, nothing stands in the way of the rhythms bouncing, the articulation is a model of clarity and the music positively fizzes. Harnoncourt is determined to impose a curious "expressivity" on the music which stands in its way and says more about the conductor that it does about the music. The performance of the Overture for 2 horns, violins and continuo is even worse. Tubby, stodgy it comes out like uncooked Kaiserschammern. Fortunately there are plenty of other performance from which to choose. If expense is an issue then go for the performance in Volume II of the complete Overtures which are coming out on the extraordinary Brilliant label. They have got as far as Volume III, but how many more there will be I have no idea. Telemann is supposed to have written over 600, and the majority are still extant. It might not be such a cheap purchase...
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